Dorothea Quarry. July 2019

Help Support Derelict Places:

waveydave

Out & About Exploration
Joined
Nov 6, 2015
Messages
56
Reaction score
110
Location
Hinckley
After torrential rain two weeks previous and then a blow out on the motorway the following week we were hoping it was going to be third time lucky. Leaving Rochdale and the 30° temperature behind we headed for Wales and about 2 1/2 hours later we arrived at our destination. After abandoning the car as near as we could we followed the track into the unknown.

Dorothea quarry is slate quarry in North Wales and was opened around 1820. In it's heyday it was one of the world's largest. Originally made up of several smaller quarries it was inefficient and eventually it became one. As the quarries grew the pits got nearer and nearer to the village of Talysarn so the village was relocated leaving only the hall and a few other buildings. A narrow gauge railway was used onsite. Initially using horse drawn carts. The pits got deeper and deeper, down to depths of over 300ft. Spoil heaps tower over the site on all sides, some held back by giant bastions, made of waste slate piled up creating enormous dry stone walls. in fact everything on site is made from waste slate including the giant pyramids used to anchor the cables for the inclines.
Unfortunately it was this waste that was finally the undoing of the quarry. With no real system the waste was piled on top of good rock and despite the shuffling around of railway tracks and other features it was too expensive to keep quarrying here. The quarry finally closed in the 1970s and nature started to take back what was left.
Walking round here you can't fail to see the giant pyramids and the tall pumping house but stray from the track and you feel like you could be in a set from Lord of the rings. Buildings almost totally covered in moss and trees lie in all directions. Perilously deep rail cuttings sit close by with no fencing and one wrong step could lead to disaster.
In recent times, as the pit filled with water, it has become a magnet to divers and although prohibited it has still cost the lives of over 20 people. Ironically the danger notices arent much bigger than postcards with some ideally placed to trip you over the quarry edge.
After a circuit of the main pit we were knackered but had only seen a small proportion of the area.
In fact i missed some things that ive been itching to get back too since.

One of the awesome pyramids which in fact is little more than a pile of dry stone
FB_IMG_1610831728824.jpg

The first building was possibly a lodge for Talysarn hall
FB_IMG_1610831807406.jpg

FB_IMG_1610831802560.jpg

The entrance to what was once a stable block and kennels , later modified to a shower block for the quarrymen
FB_IMG_1610831789755.jpg

FB_IMG_1610831779737.jpg

Kennels
FB_IMG_1610831737892.jpg

Talysarn hall
FB_IMG_1610831752116.jpg

FB_IMG_1610831744115.jpg

Cant resist....
Must go in......
The tramway tunnel....
FB_IMG_1610831933949.jpg

This is a redundant tramway which ends with a collapse. Annoyingly i now know that a small passageway leads off to the right just before the collapse...and i missed it. Looking at the old maps it appears that the tramline was moved as talysarn quarry grew and i think the tunnel would now exit in the quarry face (not good) so the collapse may be deliberate.
FB_IMG_1610831926674.jpg

FB_IMG_1610831647652.jpg

This was a really nice escape from the intense heat. The amount of work that went in to creating all the features here is mind boggling, and thats not counting the quarry itself
FB_IMG_1610831919138.jpg

FB_IMG_1610831661269.jpg

FB_IMG_1610831956222.jpg

A pyramid. Subsidence is starting to destroy this incline
FB_IMG_1610831709864.jpg

Look...No mortar😮
FB_IMG_1610831704339.jpg

A dressing shed....
FB_IMG_1610831835277.jpg

FB_IMG_1610831683274.jpg

The engine house....
FB_IMG_1610831724937.jpg

FB_IMG_1610831821488.jpg

FB_IMG_1610831718415.jpg

Some randoms......
FB_IMG_1610831870453.jpg

FB_IMG_1610831793456.jpg
FB_IMG_1610831798162.jpg

FB_IMG_1610831618061.jpg

I absolutely loved this place and this barely scratches the surface.

Parting shot....
FB_IMG_1610831814017.jpg

Thanks fer lookin
 

Attachments

  • FB_IMG_1610831926674.jpg
    FB_IMG_1610831926674.jpg
    64.9 KB · Views: 109

Angie

Administrator
Staff member
Moderator
Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2020
Messages
120
Reaction score
70
Fantastic photos. What a very interesting place to explore. I enjoyed viewing your photos.
 

Hayman

Regular Member
Joined
May 14, 2018
Messages
269
Reaction score
189
Thought id add my video for anyone thats interested
"Wow!" is a very over-used word - but wow! The music created a feeling of danger, and had me thinking: ""What next?" When was the camera-user going to stumble and fall into a hole, or the lake? The amount of hand labour needed to construct the buildings and those arches and dig the cuttings - before a single piece of slate was cut for sale is on a scale of building the Egyptian pyramids or what are now the Great Zimbabwe ruins or some of the Aztec or Inca edifices. What struck me was - apart from the two boilers and a few small pieces of ironwork - all we see is stone, trees and water, plus some concrete block structures. That we are seeing the quarry after just 50 years of abandonment is an indication of how much more ancient sites would have looked after similar short periods of non-use. Think of how Machu Picchu would have looked 50 years after it was abandoned.

I see (Wikipedia) "Dorothea commenced working in the early 1820s. By 1848 it had become the dominant quarry in the area, employing 200 men and producing 5000 tons of finished slate. Production peaked in 1872 at 17442 tons. In the 1930s over 350 men were employed at Dorothea. Production dropped significantly after the start of World War II and the quarry closed in 1970".

But how many men were at work solely on the construction of what we see in the video? Why the decorative panels on the walls of one building? They reminded me of the Portuguese blue and white tiles.

Which was the Pit of Death? The lake? Do the warning signs say: "NO LIFEGUARDS ON DUTY"?

Thank you very much, Wavy Dave, for letting us see your video. Just think how it would have looked when in full operation!
 

waveydave

Out & About Exploration
Joined
Nov 6, 2015
Messages
56
Reaction score
110
Location
Hinckley
"Wow!" is a very over-used word - but wow! The music created a feeling of danger, and had me thinking: ""What next?" When was the camera-user going to stumble and fall into a hole, or the lake? The amount of hand labour needed to construct the buildings and those arches and dig the cuttings - before a single piece of slate was cut for sale is on a scale of building the Egyptian pyramids or what are now the Great Zimbabwe ruins or some of the Aztec or Inca edifices. What struck me was - apart from the two boilers and a few small pieces of ironwork - all we see is stone, trees and water, plus some concrete block structures. That we are seeing the quarry after just 50 years of abandonment is an indication of how much more ancient sites would have looked after similar short periods of non-use. Think of how Machu Picchu would have looked 50 years after it was abandoned.

I see (Wikipedia) "Dorothea commenced working in the early 1820s. By 1848 it had become the dominant quarry in the area, employing 200 men and producing 5000 tons of finished slate. Production peaked in 1872 at 17442 tons. In the 1930s over 350 men were employed at Dorothea. Production dropped significantly after the start of World War II and the quarry closed in 1970".

But how many men were at work solely on the construction of what we see in the video? Why the decorative panels on the walls of one building? They reminded me of the Portuguese blue and white tiles.

Which was the Pit of Death? The lake? Do the warning signs say: "NO LIFEGUARDS ON DUTY"?

Thank you very much, Wavy Dave, for letting us see your video. Just think how it would have looked when in full operation!
As you said wow! Its just a shame that the beam engines custodian wasnt around cos the engine is still there. There is so much more i could write but it was getting a bit long lol. I did know the names of the horses but they escape me at the minute. Maybe i need to do a part 2....
 

Hayman

Regular Member
Joined
May 14, 2018
Messages
269
Reaction score
189
As you said wow! Its just a shame that the beam engines custodian wasnt around cos the engine is still there. There is so much more i could write but it was getting a bit long lol. I did know the names of the horses but they escape me at the minute. Maybe i need to do a part 2....
I'd very much like to see a part two.

I first visited north Wales in 1958, on a family visit from Devon, crossing the Severn by the Aust to Beachley ferry in the days before the Severn Bridge(s). I went on the Ffestiniog and Tal-y-lyn railways and visited Port Penrhyn (where I drove a steam loco for the first time, a BR 0-6-0) and Port Dinorwic. I was quite unaware of the Nantlle railway terminating at Carnarvon until I read here about the quarry and followed it up online. I do not recall, but I expect we visited Carnarvon Castle in 1958, not knowing of the wharves and the slate traffic railway so close by.

In 1961 or 1962 I wrote to both the Penrhryn and Dinorwic quarries asking for permission to make visits. Only the Dinorwic replied, and from that I had a trip on the Padarn Railway to the quarries, and saw around Port Dinorwic. I shot 8mm cine film of the quarries and the port area.

Once again, I was totally ignorant of the Nantlle slate railway still operating just a few miles away. Such is life. I missed seeing the last use of horses on a coal mine railway in south Wales – only reading of its end in The Daily Telegraph after horse traction had finished. I did visit the mine to look around.

Still on mining, I was fortunate in going underground at one of the Irish coal mines in central Eire in the early 1960s. Some you win.....
 

waveydave

Out & About Exploration
Joined
Nov 6, 2015
Messages
56
Reaction score
110
Location
Hinckley
I'd very much like to see a part two.

I first visited north Wales in 1958, on a family visit from Devon, crossing the Severn by the Aust to Beachley ferry in the days before the Severn Bridge(s). I went on the Ffestiniog and Tal-y-lyn railways and visited Port Penrhyn (where I drove a steam loco for the first time, a BR 0-6-0) and Port Dinorwic. I was quite unaware of the Nantlle railway terminating at Carnarvon until I read here about the quarry and followed it up online. I do not recall, but I expect we visited Carnarvon Castle in 1958, not knowing of the wharves and the slate traffic railway so close by.

In 1961 or 1962 I wrote to both the Penrhryn and Dinorwic quarries asking for permission to make visits. Only the Dinorwic replied, and from that I had a trip on the Padarn Railway to the quarries, and saw around Port Dinorwic. I shot 8mm cine film of the quarries and the port area.

Once again, I was totally ignorant of the Nantlle slate railway still operating just a few miles away. Such is life. I missed seeing the last use of horses on a coal mine railway in south Wales – only reading of its end in The Daily Telegraph after horse traction had finished. I did visit the mine to look around.

Still on mining, I was fortunate in going underground at one of the Irish coal mines in central Eire in the early 1960s. Some you win.....
I think this is quite an understated location, strange considering its accessibility. But that may not be a bad thing. It was surprising how little graffiti and vandalism there is, not a bad thing either😁
 

Hayman

Regular Member
Joined
May 14, 2018
Messages
269
Reaction score
189
To me it is what might be called the 'blandness' of the site that has not attracted vandals with spray paint. And the pure physical size of what is there prevents damage. Since the quarry was all about stone, I visited Stone Mountain, a hill on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia, USA in 1979. On making the easy walk to the top, I found three examples of graffiti. Two were carefully chiselled sets of initials, and their dates that were in the late nineteenth century; the third was a forename sprayed in white aerosol paint. The contrast could not have been greater.
 
Top